Monday December 12th saw the final leg of Steve Vai’s 2016 concert tour where he mesmerized the crowd at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. This tour was in celebration of the 25th anniversary of his seminal album Passion and Warfare. Clocking in at a solid two-and-a-half-hours (including a 15 minute intermission), Vai and his band, with the help of a few special guests, were able to flawlessly perform music from throughout Vai’s career. Vai is currently touring with guitarist Dave Weiner, bassist Philip Bynoe and drummer Jeremy Colson.
It didn’t take long for the show to get going, as a quick video of Vai’s performance as Satan’s best guitar player in the movie Crossroads kicked off the show into the song “Bad Horsie.” Draped in a reflective and neon cloak (that shot lasers into the crowd), Vai made his presence known from the very beginning. With the band quickly joining in, a brief set of songs including “Crying Machine” and “Gravity Storm” would soon lead into the performance, in its entirety, of Passion and Warfare. It’s here where the special nature of the show truly took shape.
The first song from the album, “Liberty” was performed with an accompanying video and guitar track of Queen guitarist Brian May, which would be the first of many guest appearances throughout the night. Later, famed guitarists such as Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, and Tommy Emmanuel would also join Vai and his band in pre-recorded video and audio tracks. After wrapping up the performance of the Passion and Warfare, Vai then, in a touching tribute to the man who discovered him, performed a cover of the song “Stevie’s Spanking” by Frank Zappa accompanied by a video of the late, great musician.
Not willing to rest on the laurels of an already great performance, Vai stepped it up during the show-stopping performance of “Taurus Bulba” entering the crowd whilst impeccably performing the song. Ever the showman, the guitarist was jovial in the crowd – posing for selfies, fist bumping fans, and letting them fiddle with his tremolo bar. It was a spectacular moment that punctuated an already incredible night, and one that no fan in the crowd will likely forget.
Review by Kevin Kuhlman
Photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents
Venue: Scottsdale Center For The Performing Arts
Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2016
Bad Horsie (Alien Love Secrets)
Crying Machine (Fire Garden)
Gravity Storm (The Story of Light)
Whispering A Prayer (Alive in an Ultra World)
(Passion and Warfare)
For The Love Of God
The Audience Is Listening
I Would Love To
Greasy Kid’s Stuff
Alien Water Kiss
Build Me A Song
Racing The World
Fire Garden Suite IV – Taurus Bulba (Where The Wild Things Are)